Weekly Neuroscience Update

Music can induce a range of emotions and help us to better understand different cultures. But what is it that makes us tune in to some songs more than others? Researchers say when we listen to a song, our brains predict what happens next, and that prediction dictates whether we like that song or not.

New research has found significant changes in fathers’ brains between the prenatal and the postpartum period. The main changes occurred in cortical areas associated with visual processing, attention, and empathy toward their baby.

Objective measurement of psychiatric disorders has long proved challenging. Yet, there is ample evidence that analysis of speech patterns can accurately diagnose depression and psychosis, measure their severity, and predict their onset, according to a literature review featured in the January/February issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry

Alzheimer’s disease onset may be accelerated by viruses that inflame and disrupt signals from the olfactory system to the hippocampus, a new study reports.

As many as one in four patients who receive anesthesia may suffer accidental awareness during their procedure. Researchers have identified specific brain structures that may predict whether a person will experience accidental awareness under anesthesia. The findings will help identify patients who require higher-than-average doses of anesthesia.

A new study aims to investigate the interaction between the digestive and nervous systems, or the gut-brain axis, to discover more about the links between digestive health and neurodegenerative diseases.

Neuroscientists have now shown that two distinct cell populations in the striatum are affected differently by Huntington’s disease. They believe that neurodegeneration of one of these populations leads to motor impairments, while damage to the other population, located in structures called striosomes, may account for the mood disorders that are often seen in the early stages of the disease.

Finally this week, older adults with cognitive decline who have higher levels of vitamin D in their brains had better cognitive function than their peers with lower levels of vitamin D according to a new study.

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